Monday, 28 March 2011

in which i want a bookshop

Crikey. I might actually be the worst blogger in the world! Whoops.

I come to you today to talk about dreams. I've had a dream for as long as I can remember of opening my own bookshop. I went to one on a holiday once when I was very small and decided then and there that this was what I wanted to do when I grew up. I tell myself that the reason it's not happened is because I haven't yet grown up. I may have a point. Anyway, it has always been a specialist bookshop. A children's bookshop. It's painted a pastelly colour on the outside and the inside all light and airy with wooden floors and bean-bags and lots and lots of books. Books on shelves for bigger children, and books on tables for smallies. There's beanbags everywhere and a little corder just for teenage fiction, and I work there with my Beagle snoozing contentedly at my feet and a mug of coffee and my half read paperback on the counter. I am wise and all knowledgeable when it comes to children's literature, and am forever recommending books to grandparents and parents, and I have regular customers and I know their reading habits by heart. *sigh* In my dream bookshop I am happy.


The twin sister of my dream shop actually exists you know, in Edinburgh. The aptly named ‘The Children’s Bookshop’, or at least it did. I think it might have amalgamated now with The Edinburgh Bookshop, but I’m sure it’s equally fabulous. I visited The Children’s Bookshop a couple of years ago and it made my chest tighten; I want that, so bad, and I was a little in awe of Vanessa who runs the shop – she has done what I can only talk about and I envy her for that. Anyway, I digress. The point I think, is that I have spent this weekend pondering whether I could actually make my dream a reality. A lot of money has been spent lately renovating the town where I live, the old market hall has been tarted up a bit and there are a few small shops, all painted pastelly blue on the outside, in a good location, and a great size for a little bookshop. Most of them are empty at the moment, and when I saw them I grabbed Ian’s hand ‘that could be my bookshop….’

I don’t necessarily think Darwen is the ideal place for a bookshop (Ian disagrees!) but the fact that seeing that empty little shop inspired such a reaction in me, the fact that I could barely think of anything else all day, well it makes me wonder. I have decided that I have nothing to lose by doing the research have i? I mean, I’ve always put it off and called it a pipe dream because in reality I don’t know how to run a shop, and my knowledge of current children’s literature is perhaps not what it would need to be, but I’m fast approaching 30 and I don’t want to be stuck in an office forever and I want this. So I can check it out right? I can research and I can talk to people and I can find out what it involves because why shouldn’t I? Why shouldn’t I find out whether I could do it? If I don’t do the research then I know I’ll regret it in ten years time……

Never Let Me Go

It’s very very rare that I ever mark a book ‘ten out of ten.’ If I could give Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go eleven then I would. I actually think this novel is a work of genius. A work of genius that left me emotionally devastated. It’s beautiful, actually, beautiful and haunting and ultimately painful and whilst not a lot actually seems to happen, it all but breaks you anyway; somehow it’s what Ishiguro doesn’t say that gets to you so much more than what he does and that to me is the mark of a truly talented individual.

Setting a world that condones practices that are so alien to us they are uncomfortable to contemplate, juxtaposed against the youth and innocence of it’s central characters gives you a novel that is as disturbing and unsettling as it is wonderful. A book about people, about life, about emotion and about love, a book that stays with you a long time after you’ve read the last word